The winter months can be a difficult time to incorporate fresh, seasonal produce into a meal plan. There are not many fruits and vegetables that thrive in the cooler weather, but leafy greens like kale are the exception.

Kale is a fantastic vegetable for many different reasons. It is extremely nutritious–it’s low in calories, but high in several important nutrients like fiber, calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, copper and manganese. Kale is also one of the best food sources of vitamin K–one cup of kale provides an astounding 1,000% of the daily value for this vitamin. Vitamin K is important for various functions in the body, including antioxidant activity, blood clotting and bone health. While vitamin K is an essential nutrient, some people need to limit their intake. If you are currently taking a blood thinning or anticoagulant medication like warfarin, you should probably avoid kale, because the vitamin K can interfere with these types of medications. Consult your physician if you have any questions about adding kale to your meal plan.
Kale provides great anti-cancer benefits, with its many phytochemicals and anti-oxidants. And beyond all this, it’s very versatile and easy to incorporate into different recipes.
I recently found this very informative article called, The Truth About Kale (click the link). The article provides all the benefits of kale, along with various ways in which to use it. Here are some great ways from the article in which to incorporate this nutritious vegetable into different recipes:
  • Make a simple salad with a bunch of thinly sliced kale, red pepper, onion, raisins, and your favorite salad dressing.
  • Braise chopped kale and apples, garnish with chopped walnuts, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Toss whole grain pasta with chopped kale, pine nuts, feta cheese and a little olive oil.
  • Make kale chips by slicing kale into bite-sized pieces, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, and bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven.
  • Rinse kale, finely chop it and add it to soups, stews, stir-frys, salads or casseroles.
My favorite way to eat kale is the simplest. Saute chopped kale with a tablespoon of olive oil and some minced garlic for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Simple as that. It makes a wonderful vegetable side dish. I’ve even eaten this as a snack.
Winter is a great time to add nutritious foods like kale to your healthy eating plan. If you’ve never tasted kale before, give it a try and see what you think. Your body will appreciate the nutritional benefits!
Rachel Cope MPH, RC, CD